|Just the other day we were wondering what Nicolas Favresse was up to. When we last heard from the Belgian he had just made a rare repeat of Riders on the storm on the Paine towers in Patagonia, and since this time last year he had made a significant first ascent of L'Appât in Yosemite, we reckoned he was probably back in the valley. We weren't wrong.
On 30 August Nicolas made the first ascent of "Lost in translation" a 400m, 10-pitch free climb on the East Face of El Capitan together with 30-year-old Ivo Ninov from Bulgaria. The duo made their ascent in perfect alpine style from the ground up in a single, 27 hour push and graded their route 5.12b/c. Might this become an instant classic?
Tell us about "Lost in translation"
It's 400 meters long with 10 pitches of great climbing. Most of the pitches go at no more than 5.10+ but some are quite run out and the crux is a beautiful perfect corner which has a pitch of 5.12a and one of 5.12b/c, both require careful stemming. At some point on the route the gear isn't so good and sometimes you can't place gear so you have to go for it. There's some exposed 5-10+ climbing but the harder pitches are well protected.
How much new climbing is there?
Most features on El Capitan have been climbed before, often with aid. So most of the pitches of our new climb had been aid-climbed before but the side of El Capitan where we put up our new route is not as popular. So even if some of the pitches had already been climbed we couldn't really tell, apart from some old anchors here and there. A few of the pitches are definitely new - more appropriate for free climbing and natural gear.
What about the pro?
We didn't place any bolts or pitons on the pitches but we placed a bolt at the belay if needed. We shared some of the belays with some existing aid routes. On the crux pitches some bolts were already in place. We don't know much about who put them. Some are quite unnecessary and we removed some of them.
How does it compare to L'Appât?
It's not quite as hard and it's less spicy. On l'Appât you have 5-12d run out and the difficulty is much more intense on l'Appât. But Lost in translation was put up in better style (ground up in a push). On L'Appât I worked and cleaned the crux pitch coming from the top.
You're back in Yosemite. Can you explain its magic?
The weather is always fantastic from May to the end of October. Everything is accessible. So you can attempt stuff very lightweight and bivy with just a fleece if you need to. It's just about climbing. It's also a place where you learn the skills for the bigger mountains...
Read more about Lost in translation in the full report.